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In the British Museum, Greek and Roman Antiquities Department, this nicolo gem is engraved with an elephant emerging from a snail-shell [1].


According to Henig [2] this is a sea shell, but nevertheless I’m mentioning this object in this series. Is there any logic why an elephant would come out of a sea shell, when the Romans also used land shells as ornamentation?

[1] BML, inv. [GRA] 1804.0704.1407. http://to.ly/zGpQ.
[2] Henig, M. (1984). The Elephant and the Sea-shell. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 3: 243–247.